Event Review: ME-TECH 2022, Dubai
Published by Refining & Petrochemicals Middle East (RPME) - June 2022
Starved of the in-person conference platform for over two years, the Refining and Petrochemical industry was expectant, and once again, ME-TECH 2022 (Middle East Technology Forum for Refining & Petrochemicals), the region’s premier technical event for the downstream industry, delivered.
Figure 1 - Stefan Chapman (EPC) opening remarks at ME-TECH 2022
‘It demonstrated to me that there simply is no replacement for face-to-face interaction’, said Stefan Chapman, Vice President, Euro Petroleum Consultants (EPC).
Reduced demand, excess capacity and the decarbonisation mandate are forcing the Downstream industry to embrace a new journey of reinvention, so ME-TECH 2022, drawing from an established tradition of tackling the most demanding challenges and the most promising opportunities head-on, discussed and debated the Energy Transition, Refining-Petrochemical Integration, Asset Configuration and Conversion Technologies, Production Flexibility, Diversification, Reliability & Efficiency, Petrochemical Production & Chemical Recycling, Feedstock Availability and Supply Chain Management, Low Carbon and Emission Reduction Technologies, IMO Regulations, Catalyst Technologies, incorporating Renewables, Biofuels and maximising co-processing Strategies, Projects Financing post-COVID and Digital Tools & Technology Shaping Smart Refining & Petrochemicals Production.
Colin Chapman, President, Euro Petroleum Consultants (EPC) said
‘The conference covered a large scope of topics focusing on the future trends and challenges for our industry, especially the need for decarbonisation which requires genuine collaboration and a willingness to share knowledge and ideas, across the entire value chain, if we are to meet the ambitious net-zero goals set by regional governments’.
Figure 2 - left, Colin Chapman (EPC), right, Gurminder Singh (Shell Catalysts & Technologies) during the networking break
Following the tried and tested format that has served the downstream industry so well for the past 12 years, ME-TECH 2022 opened proceedings with two highly engaging and insightful pre-conference seminars. The first, hosted by Wood, focused on ‘Unlocking the Sustainable Growth Potential of the Middle East: A Catalyst for a Low-carbon Future’, while the second, hosted by Honeywell UOP, focused on ‘Integration, Optimization and Lifecycle Solutions for a Competitive, Profitable and Sustainable Future’.
Figure 3 - Afternoon Seminar hosted by Honeywell UOP
The two day conference then sought to address the greatest challenges and opportunities faced by the downstream industry with compelling contributions from an esteemed and influential group of Thought Leaders and Domain Experts, notably; Richard Charlesworth (IHS Markit), Damon Hill (Wood), David Marion (TotalEnergies), Laura Leonard (Honeywell UOP), Franky Smisaert (TotalEnergies), Uthman A. Al-Zahrani (SABIC), Praveen Dadhwal (Albemarle), Chuck Ekeocha (W. R. Grace & Co), Hernando Salgado (BASF), Florian Knaus (ILF Consulting Engineers), Pedro Santos (Chevron Lummus Global), Gurminder Singh (Shell Catalysts & Technologies), Sophie Babusiaux (Axens), Jay Jeong (Alfa Laval), Sanjay Lodha (Tubacex Group), Dalal Ali Abdulwahab Alqallaf and Abdulrahman Al-Sumaie (KNPC), Jean-Paul Sacy (Lummus Digital), Mahmood Alawi (Lummus Technology), Sridhar Srinivasan (Becht), Sachin Joshi (Sulzer Chemtech), Manish Chandra Saraswat (LyondellBasell), Enrico Lorenz (hte GmbH), Islam Heikal (Daily Thermetrics), Guillaume Vincent (Evonik) and Xander de Jong (Q8 Research).
Figure 4 - Hernando Salgado (BASF) presenting on FCC/RFCC units as key enablers in maximising conversion of crude oil to chemicals
In addition to the impressive Speaker line-up, the conference also benefitted from the expert moderation of Jean-Paul Sacy (Lummus Digital), Jean-Gaël Le Floc’h (Becht), Richard Charlesworth (IHS Markit), Fabien Lundy (Axens) and Scott Kendrick (Crystaphase).
As is so often the case with EPC conferences globally, it was standing room only for the two interactive panel discussions. Daniel Carter (Wood) took the helm of the Producer Panel which explored Strategies for Future Sustainability. The panel, consisting of Abdullah Fahad Al Osaimi (KIPIC), Khalid Al Asmi (OQ), Mohammed Al Hazmi (SABIC), Saeed Al-Hajri (SATORP) and David Marion (TotalEnergies) discussed adapting to the future challenges in the Downstream sector, the role of Refining & Petrochemicals integration and Crude Oil to Chemicals, the market outlook for Transport fuels and the role of alternate fuels, meeting targets for decarbonisation and sustainability and the role of partnerships.
Figure 5 - Panel discussion about Sustainability, joined by major Producers in the region
Husain Aldailami, Senior Reliability Engineer, Bapco said:
‘ME-TECH is a great avenue to have an in-depth understanding of what the future holds in terms of having a sustainable approach, sustainable products and a sustainable refinery.’
Stefan Chapman was on hand to conclude proceedings with the final act of the conference, the Closing Panel, which sought to Look Ahead to 2030 and Beyond. Stefan was joined in this captivating discussion by industry stalwarts, Fabien Lundy (Axens), Keith Couch (Honeywell UOP), Goutam Biswas (Chevron Lummus Global), Gurminder Singh (Shell Catalysts Technologies), Manu Van Leuvenhaege (Sulzer Chemtech) and Daniel Carter (Wood) who explored, what might the 2030 “Smart, Green” producer look like - a look at possible big-ticket technology items, they discussed strategies being put in place by GCC producers to address demands for greater diversification, increased competitiveness and greater decarbonisation, they took a look at the role of Licensors - what we might see in the next 10-15 years, the importance of R&D and the close collaboration with Producers and wrapped up proceedings with a deeper dive into key technology enablers - what technologies can be deployed to diversify operations, improve profitability and decarbonise processes and assets?
'It is crucial that we stay very connected with our customers and provide them the best solutions and tools so they can deploy and overcome current industry challenges and turn them into opportunities,’
Nathan Ergonul, VP Marketing, FCC, W. R. Grace & Co, asked about the role of technology providers and licensors in the next 10 years.
Figure 6 - Members of the closing panel discussion
Figure 7 - Networking at ME-TECH 2022
The ME-TECH 2022 community - speakers, moderators, panellists, delegates, sponsors and exhibitors - rekindled old acquaintances and made new connections, networked and exchanged knowledge and ideas and most importantly, played their own invaluable part in ensuring the Downstream industry continues on the path towards greater efficiency, profitability and sustainability.
Euro Petroleum Consultants (EPC) would like to thank its ME-TECH 2022 Sponsors: Albemarle, ART Hydroprocessing, Axens, Alfa Laval, Becht, BASF, Chevron Lummus Global (CLG), Elessent Clean Technologies, Evonik Catalysts, W. R. Grace & Co, Honeywell UOP, hte GmbH, ILF Consulting Engineers, Shell Catalysts & Technologies, Sulzer Chemtech, Tubacex Group, Wood and Exhibitors: Alfa Laval, Avantium Catalysis, Bauer Kompressoren, Crystaphase, Daily Thermetrics, Moxba Metrex, WIKA-Gayesco and ZymeFlow.